Exclusive: Toby Gerhart Interview, Part II

"I think I'll be an asset to any team that drafts me. Ideally, it would be nice to go to San Diego. That's close to home for me. My friends and family would be able to get to the games. But I'll go anywhere for the opportunity."

Q: You mentioned the Jets, and it's been reported that you've met or will meet with the Chargers. Are there any other teams that you're working out for?

A: Yeah, so I worked out with the Jets last Monday, and I have a workout with the Broncos next Friday [Note: the interview was conducted on Friday, April 2.]. I took a trip down to San Diego yesterday. They flew me in and I met with the running backs coach, the offensive coordinator and the head coach. I got some lunch, came back, and met with the general manager, then got a tour of the facilities and flew back up. It was kind of a one-day interview. Next week, I fly out to Philadelphia. The week after, I fly out to Denver and Baltimore. When you fly out to a team, they can't work you out. It's more of an interview process, where you see the facilities and hang out with the coaches, so that they get a feel for your personality.

Q: So if a team wants to work you out, they have to come to Stanford, which is what the Jets did?

A: Yes, correct.

Q: Are you looking at the landscape and hoping that a particular team will draft you?

A: It really doesn't matter. I just want that opportunity to play, and to play running back and show people that I can do it. I think I'll be an asset to any team that drafts me. Ideally, it would be nice to go to San Diego. That's close to home for me. My friends and family would be able to get to the games. But I'll go anywhere for the opportunity.

Q: Just to go back to your workouts for a second. You said you were rooming with Colt McCoy and working out with a bunch of guys down in Southern California, and obviously you were at the Combine with a whole bunch of other players. Have there been any players that you've been particularly impressed with? Maybe guys you watched in college who you were impressed with, but then when you see them working out, you say, "Wow, this guy is really fantastic"?

A: I think Colt McCoy was very impressive. We were roommates so I got to interact with him all day long. He's just an overall great guy. And then in terms of football, he put in more work than anyone else. He had a shoulder injury, so he was in the weight room rehabbing. He put in a ton of work.

Two other guys who I worked out with who were particularly impressive: Sean Weatherspoon, he's a linebacker from Missouri. He is as explosive and as strong as anyone I've ever seen. He's about 6'1" or 6'2", 240 something pounds, and he has a vertical of about 40 inches. He's running in the low 4.5s and bench pressing 35-37 times. He's just doing ridiculous things day in and day out. He's a fun guy, great personality. He has enthusiasm in the weight room and on the field. He's screaming and dancing around and doing funny things. He was a ton of fun to train with. I was really impressed by his physical attributes and skills on the field.

And then the other guy was Aaron Hernandez, the tight end from the University of Florida. Aaron is a big guy, about 6'3", 245 pounds, but runs routes and everything like a wide receiver. He has some of the best hands I've ever seen catching the ball. He makes ridiculous one-handed catches, behind-the-back catches, diving catches—he can do anything. I was really impressed by how well he moved for his size, and how good his hands were.

Q: Where are you going to be on Draft Day?

A: I'm going to be at home. I plan on flying down south and hanging out with my family and friends and waiting for a phone call. I don't know if we'll be glued to the TV. I think we're going to have fun and enjoy the process and wait for that call. Hopefully it comes earlier rather than later and we can celebrate.

Q: Where do you think you're going to be drafted? The corollary being: where do you think you should be drafted?

A: Going into the Combine, there were a lot of questions about where I was going to be drafted. It was anywhere from late first to the late third or early fourth. Now, the general consensus is that I've solidified myself as a late first to mid-second kind of guy. I imagine that I'll go in the early second round. It's where I anticipate going. I hope I can sneak into the late first round, and go somewhere from the 25th to 32nd pick.

Q: The Chargers have the 28th pick.

A: Yeah, the 28th pick, ideally, to the Chargers.

Q: Let's go back to Stanford for a bit. How tough was that? How did the team and Coach Marquess react? How has it been without baseball for the first time in, I'm assuming, a good number of years?

A: It was tough. Baseball is something I've played all my life. They're going to have a good team this year and it would have been my final year playing, but football is my love and my passion. I met with Coach Marquess and we talked about it. At first, he was trying to convince me to play baseball. He threw out the idea of me training for football before the Combine, and then coming back and picking up baseball after the Combine. That would only have me miss the first week of the season, and then I could have picked back up and finished out the rest of the year. But I explained to him how there would be workouts and team visits where I would be gone, and that I didn't know how committed I could be to baseball. Once we started going over the details of everything, and how much money was on the line in terms of me leaving school and training and giving up baseball, he ultimately agreed that I love football and should give up baseball and fully devote myself to football and train for the draft. He was completely understanding. It's been hard reading the scores everyday about the baseball team, but I'm committed to football, and I'm happy with the decision I made.

Q: You took a leave of absence from Stanford but you're back now. How are you going to reconcile your course load with workouts before the draft, and minicamp after the draft?

A: Right after the draft they'll fly you out to their facilities to meet the team and do interviews with the media and whatnot, and then within the first two weeks after the draft they'll have a minicamp, and it will be a Thursday, Friday, Saturday thing—a three-day rookie camp. I figure I can convince my professors that it's okay for me to miss a couple of days. Then actually, by NFL rules, I can't officially participate in anything until after graduation. So I may miss the first days of camp in early June and even some OTAs, but even if I wasn't in school I still couldn't go to those because of Stanford's quarter system. Because I left school early, technically, and didn't graduate, even if I didn't come back this quarter, I still wouldn't be able to participate until after the year was over. So I decided to come back and finish my course load. I missed a few days early in the quarter, and I'll miss a few days in the next couple of weeks and then for minicamp, but I feel that my professors will work with me. I won't miss any midterms or final exams, so it will all work out.

Q: I'm assuming you are going to walk at graduation?

A: Yes I am.

Q: Looking at Stanford Football into the future for a moment, who do you see as the breakout player for Stanford next year?

A: Andrew Luck is going to continue to solidify himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, if not the best quarterback in the nation, so I'd look for him to have an even bigger role in our offense and throw the ball a lot more. I'll speak all offensively, since that's there where I've been, but I expect one of the young running backs to step up. Stepfan Taylor is a great back. He showed good things last year. I think he'll surprise a lot of people and have a breakout year, as well as Tyler Gaffney. He's at baseball right now, but he has all the tools to be a great player. And then there's the veteran Jeremy Stewart. He was injured last year but he's showed great things over the past couple of years. I think we're going to have three strong running backs that are really going to contribute to the offense. And then I'd say to watch out for Jamal Patterson at the wideout. As he grows into the system and understand the routes better and coverages better, he's going to make some big plays for us and become a long ball threat for Luck.

Q: You mentioned Tyler Gaffney, who is playing baseball right now and playing pretty well for the baseball team. He seems to be transitioning fairly flawlessly between the two sports, much like you used to do. Have you been giving him any guidance along the way?

A: I've been gone, so I haven't been able to talk to him too much, but I spoke with him the other day and I've been following baseball, so I've seen that he's been doing well, if not great. I asked him how it was going, he said it was going well and he was starting to feel comfortable again. I don't think there's anything I could have told him—he seemed to be handling it seamlessly. He was enjoying it and, as you said, will be able to continue transitioning between both. I think the biggest thing and the hardest part will be getting back into football shape once baseball season ends. Baseball season is a long, long season. You have a quick turnaround. It's only five or six weeks before football camp starts up. That one is going to be a little tougher because he'll want to take time off. He'll just have to get right back in the weight room and get his legs strong for football season, because he's really going to need to contribute to the football team next year.

Q: That reminds me of something I forgot to ask earlier. You mentioned a few months ago that you had never trained full-time for football because you were playing baseball and had to shed weight in order to do so. How has it been to train for football full-time?

A: It's been awesome. Especially when I wasn't in school, I was in a nice routine. I spent the day working out. I was in the best shape of my life, in terms of body fat, speed, everything was going nicely. I didn't have to worry about anything else. Even now, back at school, I have 13 credits and no practices or games. I have one class a day and workout for a few hours and the rest is enjoying Stanford—walking the campus, watching my sisters play on the softball field, and just enjoying my last quarter here at Stanford.

Q: That was going to be my last question. How much do you get to see your sister pitch? And an addendum: can you get a hit off of her?

A: I've watched her pitch five or six times now at Stanford. I saw her a few weeks ago when she threw a perfect game and two no-hitters. Then I saw her pitch last night, all 12 or 13 innings against Cal. Now I'm softball's No. 1 fan. They sell last year's jerseys and numbers, so I bought both my sisters' softball jerseys. They're way too small but I wear them anyway. I sit right behind the dugout and I'm yelling and messing around and having fun. I'm going to be out there at every home game. I'm going to make it a point to be out there and support them and enjoy in the life of someone sitting in the stands instead of playing on the field.

In terms of hitting off of her... of course I can hit off of her. I've never tried, but I'll never let her strike me out.

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